Why Small Businesses Should Fall in Love with Pinterest

Pinterest (pronounced “PIN-terest”) is a sensation that every small business should know about. The hot new social network is not based on who you know like most. Instead, you connect based on shared interests.

Think of a cork board that has notes, products you want to buy, or inspiration. This is the online version. People post pictures or video of things they love (called pins). Other people can follow them and add them to virtual pinboards (pinning).

The genius of Pinterest is that you can click on a pin and follow it to the source – including your web site or blog post.

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing web sites in the world with over 7 million visits a month.  According to research Pinterest is sending more traffic than Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn combined.

The majority of people on Pinterest are women between the ages of 25 and 44. These are the perfect demographic to reach. Women tend to be “social extroverts” who like to talk about brands online. Together they represent incredible buying power (many are moms who make buying decision for their families).  They have special enthusiasm for arts, recipes and crafts.

Pinterest is simple to figure out and can get you from the home page. It’s addicting. Because of this Pinterest is reaching a new demographic of people who may not spend much time on social networking web sites. Even your mom who can’t figure out how to use Facebook is on Pinterest.

Unlike a lot of social networks, Pinterest doesn’t require a lot of extra time or the upkeep of say, your Facebook page.

How can a small business profit from Pinterest? 3 Ways: traffic, branding and business.

1. Add your products to the site.

There is a section called “gifts” http://pinterest.com/gifts/ where you can add a price with a picture and link to your buy page for that product. Be aware that if you have an affiliate program, Pinterest may become an affiliate and therefore keep a cut of the sales they send you.

2. Start pin boards of things your audience will resonate with.

General Electric posts images of their present (machinery), past (historic photographs) and future (including new technologies). Online clothing company ModCloth pins fabric and dress ideas for their audience to give feedback on.

3. Ask your audience to participate.

Create a board with fun pictures of your staff. If you host an event, you can have participants (or speakers) send in pictures of themselves and links to their other social networking profiles. You can also host contests where people create a board and pin things they want. The winner wins a gift certificate or everything on their board.

4. Get content from your other social networks.

The best pins are funny, creative/unique, informative or gorgeous. Many times your fans on Facebook are already sharing pictures or video of themselves interacting with your business or products. Some of them may be perfect for pinning on Pinterest. Twitpics on Twitter could also be repinned. it can also be the other way around. You can also use content found on Pinterest on your blog, Facebook or Twitter profile.

5. Pimp (or pin) your own content.

While blantant self-promotion is discouraged, there’s nothing against starting a board featuring your own top blog posts, infographics or other content. If you have media mention, pin those in a newsroom board.

Here at OrangeSoda we walk our talk. We drank the Kool Aid (or soda). Follow OrangeSoda on Pinterest. And watch for my new book about Pinterest for business coming this Spring.

Is Pinterest is helping your business? Tell us about it in the comments.